Last week in Brazil I met Bob Boiko, who gave a very interesting presentation on information management and the role of social media. His point was that social media is all about electronic conversations of various types – all of them about publishing, but many of them allowing a level of response or reaction.
Conversation is very important within knowledge management, particularly when it is the right sort of conversation. Conversations come in various types –assertions, gossip, argument, debate, telling jokes – but this only really one type of conversation at effectively transfer is knowledge, and that is dialogue. Very few of the common social media allow effective dialogue, even the discussion forums you find on LinkedIn, and listening to Bob I began to wonder what sort of typical conversations the common social media generate, and the following caricatures popped into my mind.
- Facebook is like gossip at a party – rapidly changing social conversations within groups of friends
- Twitter is like shouting sound bites into an echo chamber – the good ones or the interesting ones echo longer than the others
- Linked-In conversations, when they are good, are debate or question-and-answer, at their worst they serial assertion, sometimes escalating into serial disagreement.
- Blogging is like Speaker’s Corner at Hyde Park – monologue with heckling
- Wikipedia at its best is like a TV debate panel correcting each other, at its worst is a TV debate panel arguing with each other.
- I don’t have a caricature yet for Google+ as I haven’t been on there for long enough